New Delhi (Sputnik): “Gul Makai” is a story about the life and struggle of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and how she stood up against all odds to make education possible for every girl in her country. Director Amjad Khan has showcased her life through his story that moved Malala’s family to tears during its screening.
The filmmaker, a Muslim, feels that the story of Malala Yousufzai needs to be retold in India at a time when there is widespread concern about student safety adding that he felt that no country could flourish if its future generation can’t grow without fear.
Malala was recognized at a very young age when she became a campaigner for girls’ education rights in Pakistan. Her journey to success was not easy, and the Taliban even shot her in 2012, when she was just 14 years old, for becoming the voice of all girls who wanted to study.
The incident gave her more power to continue with her work, and she became the youngest person ever to win the world-famous Nobel Peace Prize.
Asked about the whole idea of making “Gul Makai”, Khan told Sputnik, “Her incredible journey to fight against terror groups without even thinking of the consequences made me come up with a story on her life. I feel education is a fundamental right of every student, and they deserve what they aim for.”
Referencing the current situation in India where thousands of students from leading universities are protesting against fee hikes and the newly implemented Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which grants citizenship to illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries, but bars Muslims from this amnesty, Khan said: “it’s no less than a civil war”.
“I was at Shaheen Bagh (located in the South Delhi district of the Indian capital) where the majority of the people are Muslims. However, I saw a Sikh standing in solidarity along with Hindu brothers. This is the kind of unity we need as the Government is working on the divide and rule policy. This is a civil war where you are straight away showing that you are a Nazi or a Hitler,” he said.
Photo : “Gul Makai” PR team
In the picture, Producer Sanjay Singla of ‘Gul Makai’ along with Social Entrepreneur and Speaker Catalyst Priya Samant Parulekar and actor Atul Kulkarni who is playing the role of Malala’s father in the film
Khan, who is also the Goodwill Ambassador of the UN agency which fights malnutrition across the world, said his film’ Gul Makai’ truly reflects the fundamental rights of students.
“Every kid deserves the right to education. My film shows how a girl from a small village in Pakistan starts a revolution with her powerful protest against a terror group that doesn’t want girls to be educated. She became an advocate for education. I felt inspired by her enthusiasm,” said Khan, who also visited premier Indian universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia to support protesting students.
“Right now, India is going through the same situation. One can see how masked goons mobbed students and made their lives terrible. Students were protesting for their demands and against this new law which is no less than nonsense,” he added.
“We talk on religion, but religion never divides people, it unites. The political groups are making things worse for the people of India through division. We have seen this in the past, during the division of India and Pakistan. What are we teaching to young kids?”
Coming back to the film, Khan revealed, the only struggle he faced while making the film was that the story was from his neighbouring country, Pakistan.
“It took time to gather information. I spoke to some reporters and authors. I didn’t take any permission from Malala or her family before making this film. However, I went to her house in London and requested the family to see the film when I finished filming. They were convinced especially her father and had no arguments on the storyline,” Khan told Sputnik.
The first showcasing of the film was in London.
“It was a packed house with 450 dignitaries, and everyone liked it. Her family was crying throughout the film,” said Khan, who now plans on a script that will show the true teachings of different religions.
“The research is on. I think somewhere people are getting the wrong definition of religion which, therefore, is creating hatred in each other’s minds. I want to show what the true religion really means,” said Khan
The very young actress Reem Shaikh played the role of the 15-year-old protagonist Malala in Amjad’s movie along with some other noted names like Divya Dutta, Atul Kulkarni, Mukesh Rishi, and Pankaj Tripathi. The film will be released on 31 January.